Turndown services are a luxury hotel’s veritable calling card — thoughtful gestures on behalf of the staff as guests prepare to tuck into their plush accommodations. Typically, these services come in the guise of little chocolates or delicately placed petals of local flowers. But others do something a bit more unusual.
Here are some of the weirdest and most wonderful turndown services around the world, gifts that will make you reconsider hanging the ‘do not disturb’ sign on your next hotel stay.
Candleglow Turndown at Rabbit Hill Inn
Rabbit Hill Inn, a Northern Vermont bed and breakfast, has a special kind of provincial romance as an adults-only property with elegant furnishings and sweeping countryside views. The team creates an in-room sensual ambiance every night with their signature 'candleglow turndown', lighting a series of aromatic candles and oil lamps around the room, turning on the sweet serenades of soft jazz, and leaving a bedside basket of local-made Vermont goods — trappings include chocolates, maple syrup bottles and lavender sleep spray. The inn’s cute (stuffed animal) mascot, Harry the Rabbit, participates in the antics as well, hopping behind dressers and nightstands with a new hiding place each day.
Worry Dolls at Casa Palopo
At Casa Palopó, a boutique hotel in the Lake Atitlán region of Guatemala, a nightly legion of tiny hand-made dolls make their way onto the pillows of every bed. These dolls, no larger than a finger, lay available to listen to the whispered troubles of their guests; they're called muñeca quitapenas, meaning ‘worry doll’. According to Guatemalan legend, the colorful textile-woven men and women soak up the anxieties of their humans like a sponge to water and help them find inner peace, although in a place like Lake Atitlán, with its shimmering cerulean waters and snow-capped volcanoes, placidity comes pretty easily.
Tea and Books at Gild Hall
Gild Hall in New York’s Financial District is known for its warm eclecticism in the midst of the city’s most buttoned-up neighborhood, with rustic furnishings like brass chandeliers in every room. Before turning in, the hotel treats suite-stayers to a tray of warm tea, a handwritten note and a copy of E.B. White’s 1949 essay 'Here is New York', a revered and oft-quoted love letter to the city. White’s wandering words will lull guests into a sleep laced with big-city dreams, only to be met the next morning with the exciting modern-day hubbub in the streets below.
Adult Coloring Books at the Kimpton Carlyle Hotel
Many hotels provide entertainment options for children, such as bedtime stories and coloring books but the Kimpton Carlyle Hotel in Washington, D.C. believes these creative endeavors shouldn’t be limited to only those with single-digit ages. The stylish hotel is situated steps away from the capitol’s cultural hub, Dupont Circle, and this proximity to many of D.C.’s best museums fuels the Kimpton Carlyle’s penchant for the arts. The staff delivers adult coloring books and an accompanying set of freshly sharpened colored pencils every night, a bedtime activity to soothe guests’ minds after a busy day of politicking and business.
Shakespeare’s Sonnets at the Milestone Hotel
London has been the home of many of the world’s most renowned authors and the Milestone Hotel & Residences, a posh property just a quick march from Buckingham Palace, satisfies guests’ inclination for British prose and poetry with miniature editions of classic works placed on the bed each evening, usually surrounded by intricate flower-petal arrangements and a heart-holding teddy bear. Literary masterpieces from Shakespeare’s sonnets to the Sherlock Holmes novels are bedtime reading for travelers as they settle into their elegant velvet-walled accommodations.
Mindful Gifts at the Fusion Maia Da Nang
Thich Nhat Hanh is a prolific Vietnamese Buddhist monk and spiritual leader, known for his simple yet profound teachings on mindfulness. The Fusion Maia Da Nang, a five-star beachfront wellness property in central Vietnam, instills the monk’s philosophies into its turndown services — pink heart-shaped Himalayan salt stones cleanse negative vibrations with intrinsic positive ions; these same stones are used in the Reiki therapies at the hotel’s legendary spa. Quote cards from Thich Nhat Han inspire calming moments before bedtime, with brief sayings to meditate on such as “Be free where you are” and “I have arrived, I am home.”
Seedballs at Elewana Tortilis Camp Amboseli
The luxury safari lodge Tortilis Camp Amboseli offers an abundance of bedtime amenities that capture the local spirit from salted toffee to Lala Salama Cards, little notes inscribed with Kenyan proverbs. Their best turndown gift, however, is a pack of ten seedballs, indigenous tree seeds encased in biochar to protect itself from grazing wildlife until it can safely germinate. Guests are encouraged to bring the seedballs with them on game drives or bush walks and toss them out into the surrounding national park lands to help grow new saplings.
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